What are hydrogenated fats?
Often in the colorful packaging of Industrial bakery and pastry , highlights a phrase with large letters that reads something similar to: “ made with vegetable fats ” or “ made with 100% vegetable oils “. These terms are related to sunflower or olive oils and, in general, to healthy and beneficial fats for our body. Sometimes manufacturers do not specify what type of vegetable fat is used. In others, only if we inspect the label and read the fine print, we come across terms such as “ hydrogenated oils or fats “, “ partially hygrogenated ” or “ trans fats “.
These hydrogenated fats, typical in the production of industrial bakery and pastries, are also generally used for the production of margarines (in which the advertisement for” vegetable fat ”And a cardio-healthy image), salty snacks (french fries and the like), fast food and pre-cooked foods (croquettes, dumplings, pizzas, etc.).
hydrogenated fats are unsaturated fats in origin, which are processed to solidify them, changing the position of some links (also called trans fats ). In other words, cheap and low-quality vegetable oils are used that are industrially treated at high temperatures to obtain from them a fat of an ideal consistency for these products.
Where are hydrogenated fats used?
In homemade and artisan pastry, vegetable oils of liquid consistency (unsaturated fats) are used and mixed with butters (saturated fats) of solid consistency to obtain a product that, on the palate, is neither too oily nor hard. Unsaturated oils (olive oil, etc.) are liquid oils and can cause these products to lose oil and their consistency, leaving them with a “crushed” appearance. On the other hand, the use of margarines and other saturated fats, of solid consistency, make the product something too caked and hard, without that rubberiness and consistency. In addition, saturated fats have been considered (and still are by many health professionals) unhealthy fats and related to the risk of cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia and hypercholesterolemia.
The food industry found , in hydrogenated fats, the solution to many of your problems. On the one hand, these fats are obtained from low-quality oils which are very cheap . After obtaining the first cold pressing oils, the seeds or fruits from which the oil is obtained (olives, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.) can continue to be treated by other mechanical processes (high temperature pressing, etc.) or chemical procedures to obtain lower quality oils (even the pomace oils obtained from the remains of the skins and bones of the olives).
They also avoid the use of saturated fats that continue to look like fats harmful, and could label their products “made with vegetable oil.”
On the other hand, they obtain an ideal fat for this type of product. It remains solid at room temperature, products always look great and can stay on shelves and shop windows for days without losing their appetizing physical appearance. Once the product is introduced into the mouth, the rubberiness of the product is appreciated as it heats up and the hydrogenated fat turns into oil that melts through our neck. They remind us of the famous slogan of M&M chocolates: ” it melts in your mouth and not in your hands “.
Finally, these fats lose their flexibility and their degree of unsaturation , so they cost more to rust. Thus, the product can be consumed days or even weeks after manufacturing and does not lose taste or turn rancid.
Hydrogenated fat and the body
hydrogenated or trans fats are not our body’s own fats . They are not found naturally in any food, only in processed products, so the body does not have mechanisms to take advantage of them properly. They are fats that, once metabolized, will interact with the rest of the body’s fats (saturated, AGE, cholesterol, phospholipids, etc.) and cause significant imbalances in all the functions in which fats intervene. That is, functions related to the stability of cell membranes (impact at the cellular level and on the flexibility of tissues), with the obtaining energy and the correct use of the different sources and regulatory functions (hormones, cellular communication molecules, etc.) related to sexual functions , inflammation and multiple important processes for daily body development.
products containing hydrogenated fats are not recommended, not even if they are found in a small proportion in certain foods and are directly harmful to health fats. If we consume processed foods, we must ensure that they are free of these industrial fats .